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ID Tips

Ringo Bowen wrote a fantastic article on this, worth a read -  Here

There are several things that we consider when trying to identify a bagpipe.

1. Silver hallmarks – they can tell us a lot of information, however silver can be removed or added so it is not always 100% accurate.

Can you figure out this hallmark?

2. Makers name stamp – some early pipemakers stamped their name on their bagpipes, but not always. Chanters were more commonly stamped.

MacDougall Aberfeldy stamped on a chanter.

3. General profile – This picture below, courtesy of Thomas Doucet of Thomas Pipe Works shows how different the bells of a drone can be -

4. Mounts and ferrules – A long list of materials has been used over the years, here are some examples -

Marine Ivory(Walrus Tusk) – Used often on Victorian era pipes, before African elephant ivory became available.

Marine ivory has a translucent appearance


This mount is made from Celluloid, arguably the best imitation ivory ever. Note the straight grain to it. Some older Lawrie sets had a mix of celluloid and real ivory on them.

Elephant Ivory

Note the Schreger lines(criss crossing) on these ring caps. A sure sign they are real ivory

5. Stocks – the shape of the stocks is a very important aspect when considering who turned a particular bagpipe.

Stocks are often overlooked, but often give us important clues to identifying the maker.(Left to Right - 1880 Henderson, 1930 Lawrie, 2010 McCallum, 2010 Dunbar) Below, a David Glen set from the early 1900's, note the distinct stock bottoms.

6. Combing and Beading – Often makers used certain patterns and tools to identify their work. e.g.  Henry Starck made deep, rounded beads……but  so did MacDougall and Gillanders……hmmmmm.  Who made the stock below??

7. Internal bores -

Comparisons -

Use the drop-down menu to look at some different comparisons.( i.e. Sinclair or MacPherson? ),

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